Willawaw Journal Spring 2023 Issue 16
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
COVER ART: "Silver Stars" acrylic on paper by Rachel Coyne
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
Page One: Frank Babcock Stephen Barile Jeff Burt Dale Champlin
Page Two: Rachel Coyne Kris Demien Amelia Diaz Ettinger John Dorroh Ann Farley Irene Fick Page Three: Rachel Coyne C. Desirée Finley Karen George Philip Hammial Suzy Harris Rosalie Hendon Page Four: Rachel Coyne Addison Hoggard Marc Janssen Penelope Moffet Anis Mojgani Robert Nisbet Page Five: Rachel Coyne Darrell Petska Neal Ostman Vivienne Popperl Daniel A. Rabuzzi Emily Ransdell Page Six: Rachel Coyne Lindsay Rockwell Jim Ross Heather Stearns William R. Stoddart Doug Stone Page Seven: Rachel Coyne Sarah B. Sullivan Pepper Trail Paul Willis BACK PAGE with Rachel Coyne
C. Desirée Finley
Falling off horses
I wouldn’t want my falling off a horse laid
right next to my first good kiss,
or my wedding day when my (then)
husband went off to smoke dope
with his chums for 20 minutes
laid next to my 1st prize in photography.
And, I wouldn’t like the memory of me
saying, “I’m dying to see you,” said
to my dad the day before he actually
did die laid next to my mother’s
asking me at fifteen if I’d
taken her birth control pills,
me looking at her like she was nuts,
which apparently, she was. It’s spaces
between things that help us retain
sanity, a modicum of space holding it all in,
a closet of sorts. Here’s the thing, I want
to put that closet somewhere closed
maybe give it a combination
lock or bury it deeper or somehow get it
to stop swinging open randomly, with
the scent of marigold, or how the ocean
sounds at 7:00am or the way at the
beginning of snow there’s a hush and
then it begins one single soft flake at a time.
C. Desirée Finley (Fin) is a fiction writer, poet and artist now living in a small hilltown in western Massachusetts. Her poetry is published in Straw Dog Writers Pandemic Poetry and Silkworm 14 and 15. Fin was accepted into Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference in 2018 for fiction but says her poetry and writing has lately been influenced by the presence of a mountain in her backyard. Find her at FinleyWrite.com.
Sometimes all you need is a shadow
as when sun through a window lands the crisp imprint of a lipstick plant (blooms,
leaves, vine) on the hardwood floor near your feet. Or from the high eyebrow
window, the ruby, emerald, sapphire bottles are cast on the glass tabletop clear
as in a mirror. Beauty you find when you gaze up from a novel you’ve been
immersed in for an hour, the curve of a lit lamp’s shade reflected along with its
soft glow onto the wall behind it—shape warped by the corner.
How on a crisp sunny day you can’t wait to walk through a park to photograph
shadows of bare trees on a soft expanse of unsullied snow. The way wind alters
water on a sun-struck lake, creates furrows that pass through geese’s mirror twins.
Sometimes all it takes to lift you from grief, worry, pain is to enter your bedroom,
see a laundry basket with light through slotted patterns projected onto quilt and
dresser drawer a yardstick away—so precise. You cover the echo with your palm,
feel its soft warmth.
Still, breathe, watch the shadows fade, sharpen as sun lessens, intensifies.
Karen George, author of the poetry collections Swim Your Way Back (2014), A Map and One Year (2018), and Where Wind Tastes Likeears (2021), won Slippery Elm’s 2022 Poetry Contest, and her short story collection, How We Fracture, which won the Rosemary Daniell Fiction Prize, is forthcoming from Minerva Rising Press in Spring 2023. She lives in Kentucky, and her work appears in Adirondack Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Cultural Daily, Indianapolis Review, and Poet Lore. See her website here.
I’m pulling back.
Goof slides! Clown bites! Wheels to roll wonderful me
to a finish line that some bastard deleted seven
centuries back. And forth. And back. Marching orders
makin’ whoopee in a cattle stack/how
they trickle down, leak their penalties… For?
Aktionismus? Catwalk strut – you so ugly? – Is how
the plot thickens? – Garden variety string (beans) my
journey in knots? Extraction negotiable if (1) your ticket
has not expired (though obviously, purchased in ’68,
it has) (2) by all accounts you are/are not/might be the nasty
piece of work you’re purported to be from which (work)
comes musk & mayhem & a mockery of much
that should in progress be soup, delicious, & it is if, as
promised, on Tuesday no dog (including yours, especially
yours) shall have its day on Wednesday I’ll come
to your party if Lucy doesn’t snub Hunky
meets Dory they make a wish the wish
is a Will to Power à la what’s-his-name, Nietzsche
that nag: Clown slides! Goof bites! I’m booking for nil,
for errata. I’m shy a shoe. I’d like to be true! What’s
Rudolf got that I don’t? Ditto Tom? Ditto them all!
Those miserable gossips. They’ve got it coming who dare
to label perfect me compunctious, punctilious, pugnacious,
a common swell scooting on runners, on a sled to Hell
loaded with gifts of frankincense & myrrh. Purr, I say,
& pitch them in sacks. Sink them in deep water. After
I bid adieu to the three Mabels there’s always seven more
demanding at the very least a peck on the cheek, the CAT
scan equivalent of a soiled bib, a husbandry all aflutter, a
mad fool’s mutter. Mothers McCree & McFib surely you
can understand why – Spoof rides! Circus fights! –
I’m pulling back.
Originally from Detroit, Philip Hammial has lived in Australia since 1972. He has had 37 poetry collections published by Penguin, Puncher & Wattmann, Island and others. He has represented Australia at 14 international poetry festivals.
–after Eavan Boland
Heat rises in ribbons from the street as an old crow
sits at the edge of a large black rock, looks
at the pool of water in the rock’s center.
He does not dip his wings to splash and cool
his corvid body. Perhaps the water is already too hot,
like the old Union Steam Baths, long closed now,
where we took our tired, wet bodies after days
of camping in the rain. How we sat on wooden benches
wrapped in thin towels, allowed clouds
to fill the room, laughing, disappearing in steam.
We had the baths to ourselves. We didn’t know
the last salmon cannery had just closed and the town
was in mourning. Years later, the boats
would bring back sardines, and when those
were overfished, anchovies, at least for a time.
The old crow pauses while his mate
shrieks at him from the telephone wire. He glances down
at his dry dusty feathers, then rises in flight
through the ribbons of heat to meet her,
to search together for cool water.
–after “What I Want to Remember” by Ada Limón
At four, how you hefted an imaginary bat,
feet planted in the dusty packed earth,
and swung and swung at those imaginary balls.
How you grew into your impossibly long arms and legs,
good-naturedly taking the dog for a walk,
taking out the garbage after just one more reminder.
You, in the kitchen, how you hug your mother
in that slightly embarrassed way,
your mother who has driven you to practices,
watched your games, cheered for you,
made you cheese sandwiches
when that was all you would eat.
You tilt your head over hers, your body
a kind of shelter while the sloppy and exquisite world
waits for you just outside the front door.
Born and raised in Indiana, Suzy Harris has lived her adult life in Portland, Oregon. This year she published a chapbook called Listening in the Dark (The Poetry Box) about her journey through hearing loss and learning to hear again with cochlear implants.
At Home on a Snowy Day
I remember last winter
a day of thick snow, a Saturday.
We didn’t have to go anywhere.
No scraping off the car windshield,
no stiff fingers on the steering wheel.
Holed up, cozy inside.
Car peaceful under a blanket of snow.
We left once because we wanted,
to the coffee house at the end of the street.
We fit our feet in the footsteps of strangers.
The frozen waves roiling down the block
reached as high as our knees.
Rosalie Hendon is an environmental planner living in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and many house plants. She started a virtual poetry group in 2020 during quarantine that has collectively written over 200 poems. Her work is published in Change Seven, Call Me [Brackets], Superpresent, Fleas on the Dog, and Red Eft, among others. Rosalie is inspired by ecology, relationships, and stories passed down through generations.